Archive for the ‘The blog’ Category


I was not at Barcelona on a saturday afternoon since… long ago.

And today is Sonar’s saturday, so the city’s Raval neighborhood is full of strange looking people, in a sort of live Look at this Fucking Hipster show.

Barcelona, in 2010, is like New York back in the 80’s…I mean…there are REALLY odd people outhere…

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Defending journalism

Wrote on Wed. 16, June 2010

The world of news and journalism is complaining for years. Bloggers taking jobs of journalists, lack of professionalism…

Today I found two great articles on this issues. One from Douglas Rushkoff titled There’s More to Being a Journalist Than Hitting the ‘Publish’ Button, and another one from Dan Gillmor: Let’s subsidize open broadband, not journalists.

Rushkoff, as well as, Gillmor get to the same point: the fact that a kind of amateurism has made its place in the news world. But as Gillmor points out, it has to be said that such alleged journalism would have to improve a lot to be able to become mediocre.
I’m talking about some characters, specially in afternoon TV programs, appeared just directly from realities and whom put themselves the “Journalist” sign while they analyze the color of last celebrity’s knickers (if she, or he or should I say ‘it’, was wearing any).
That, not the Internet, are the real professional intrusions.
Internet has broken so many gates and its gatekeepers, giving lots of people the opportunity to become an author. But this does not mean that just anyone will become an author. And yet less that anybody will become an author of quality. And I do not have to go far to find an example. I myself, thanks to technology was able to try making electronic music without having to spend thousands on expensive synths and equipment. The final results were really disappointing, so I quitted.

But almost all the professional journalist world keeps being stubborn on blaming the messenger, while with the other hand are feeding the troll who settled into their house and just emptied the fridge.
It is the same world which, here in Spain, should follow some translation links to the articles mentioned above. The same world which has not recycled itself more than take a couple of courses on “Word Perfect”, paid by their publisher.
With just changing tools, from the Remington to the PC, one can not hope money will keep materializing on its lap. Absolutely all professional sectors need recycling. Even that one related with the oldest profession in the world… and anyone can look for the kind-of documentary made by a investigative journalist on the world of porn and how it has to renew to adapt this modern times.

Local news world does not make news any more. As Rushkoff points, changing the Remington for the PC has not brought any value, it has subtracted it. And proof of it is the abusive use of copy and paste. One simply has to look for any actual news and compare it in every newspaper. Identical. Even the same typos.

A professional newsperson is someone who is not only trained to pursue a story and deconstruct propaganda, but someone who has been paid to spend the time and energy required to do so effectively.

How many still of them? Just a bunch. How many journalists were necessary to unmount the not so false conspiracy of Telcos? I think none.
The vast majority just copies and pastes, and later they put on their prophet-of-doom hats and dresses, preaching the journalistic Final Judgement. And, sadly, if they keep on intruding the professional wirld of gloomy fortune tellers, it WILL be the end.
Without any will to intrude anything, news’ world should finish predicting its own ending and start applying reality to themselves.

As in 1792 in the US, now it is necessary to promote a free distribution channel, free from interference. It is needed that telcos begin to put aside their laziness. And that they do that without blackmail to users, without pretending to double-cash for the use of complete obsolete networks, not to say their pretending of control the content of that networks.

Gillmor complains about the situation of local networks in the US? If he saw what we have here in Spain, he would die of instant massive brain-spill.

But the designing of those future networks which will permit journalists keep on earning a living for their job, bloggers keep on publishing their not-so-amateur content, and citizens accessing into such an amazing quantity of information as it never was seen before, it is not the job of journalists, nor bloggers and neither of citizens.
It is some thing called Telecommunications Market Commision (some sort of spanish FCC). Its most notorial activities in the late years had been to systematically cripple some initiatives to create local networks to access the Internet, because they weren’t from any big telco but from citizen organizations and local entities.
With friends as such…

Gillmor points, at the end of his article, that governmental entities are not solely not doing their job, but screwing all they touch. It seems that tere is not many differences between what happens in one and another side of the Ocean.

But going back to reality, some of us will keep on defending things while the entire country is paying attention to an event which is getting more and more news titles these days. And it is not the labor reform being approved today by decree, it is the soccer match of the selectionisima.
Bread and circus.

Austerity, luddism and the Digital Amish

Says The Economist that technologic austerity is becoming trendy , setting as an example the writer of the article itself, who uses software made in 1997.

One thing is time managing, and another different thing is opening the mouth tos ay that a typewriter does not promote distractions as being always looking your put-here-your-social-networking-software.
A tremendously absurd observation as it would be assuring that a Worden wheel is much better than a car’s one because it does not get flat .

One thing is making apps which gets one or two things done, and doing it really well (technological austerity), one another is adopting a technology when it is widely spread (being a Digital Amish), but a completely different thing is rejecting any new technological advance and preferring the picture of an old Olivetti with its ashtray filled to the brim, adducing that this way one does not wastes time (being a Luddite).

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The iPad goes to Europe

Now it comes that the iPad will arrive to Europe, but not in the way one could imagine. Someone at the European Parliament had a terrific idea: give an iPad to each MEP in order to make some sort of “mobile offices” for them. The joke would be about 5 million euros, which at last should come from euro-citizen’s pockets.

Having in mind that the iPad is a defective device by its own design, spending 5 million euros in such thing should be seen as embezzlement.
iPad, due to Digital Restriction Management systems, is a restricted device in which can be only installed those apps permitted by Apple, and with the last news in memory, one should not trust on them. Last cases are Apple killing one of the best RSS reading apps ever, Pulse News Reader, on demand by The New York Time, and the covered censorship of content under the disguise of the fight against porn.

Apple controls absolutely everything that can be installed on an iPad, and also controls absolutely avery content a user can store, read, see or hear on it., by the fact that such content can only be accesed through iTunes, Apple’s own shop.

Such a device, the use of it depending only from the corporation who makes it, can not be a device for european parliamentarians. It can not be that Apple, a private north-american corporation, could access to European Parliament’s documentation, a public institution elected by european citizens. There is absolutely no justification for it: it can not be. Period.

Catalan MEP Raül Romeva (Greens), in an article published also by the Asociación de Internautas, explains and extends this case, telling us the example of MEPs being unable to install any software by their own without having to ask permission to IT guys, or the lack of Wi-Fi access within the Parliament’s building.

Without any doubt, solving this problems is infinitely a priority over buying 796 new, but useless, devices. And solving those to issues would solve the “mobile office” problem which gave place to the proposal. More over, what’s an iPad for without Wi-Fi access in the Parliament? Or should we pay more for all those 736 associated data plans?

Piracy and death penalty

Anyone interested in the history of piracy, I mean real piracy, on the seas, knows that what those men and women were affronting when caught was death by hanging.
May be for this, they gave no quarter, because if they were captured, the only thing they could expect was a rope. Or may be that was the other way? Which was first, the egg or the chicken?

Anyway, there is some people whom nowadays, in the XXI century, remembers those ages in which pirates were hung to death. It is the case of Frank Nevrkla, CEO of Phonographic Performance Ltd., who in his addressing to the group’s AGM, he sent out some pearls:

Thank you, David, and thank you for putting some of those pirates behind bars. I know that regrettably capital punishment was abolished in this country some 50 years ago, sad it is, but a few years in jail is probably pretty OK…

To the industry I would say, we would be well advised to delete two or three words from our vocabulary entirely and they are ‘promotion’ and ‘promotional value’. There is no such thing in the 21st Century. There is usage, there are benefits, hopefully often, if not always to both sides but there is no favour in it and no indulgence and no promotion.

Without any doubt, a full declaration of his intentions, not to say a declaration of war…

By the way, I hope that Mr. Nevrkla, in fact, the equivalent of Teddy Bautista (CEO of SGAE, the only private enterprise in charge of collecting money from copyright) in Spain, old violinist whom does not play since 1976, pays diligently his royalties part for quoting and paraphrasing a couple of fragments from the movie “In the name of the father”, in which a judge regrets the detainees were not charged with treason to the crown (piracy was), which implies death by hanging.

And after paying his quota to Jim Sheridan, I hope that Mr. ex-violinist gets some of his own country’s history. Death penalty for piracy was abolished in 1998. After that, he should retire to a cave, to meditate until the end of his days.

Second letter of Arnau to the editors, publishers and authors

Finally, last friday I got the answer from Mr. Josep Ricou, published on the comments section in the original letter post.

Basically, he says that the note is a standard one, it is no matter how many permissions you ask to cite or reproduce any part of the content in their books as they are systematically denied, and in order to not letting any doubt or question uncovered, he grants me permission to read the book…

And so I wrote him again, copy to partners and authors too:

Good morning again Mr. Ricou,

I am pleased to receive your answer, and that it came so quick. However, I think you did not fully understood my request. My tolerance in abusive copyright notices is zero. As the note “Del xino al raval” is. I am aware that the notes are standardized, and this is precisely the problem. Most of them try to prevent indiscriminate ‘disclosure’ of the book, killing the rights acquired by the purchase of the book itself. And Mr. Ricou, when I buy anything, it is mine, and I do what I want: let it to whom and when I wish, and if applicable, destroy it how and when I like. This includes books.
As far as I know, when someone buys a book, it ‘buys a book’ not a ‘reading license’.

Regarding the second point of your reply, I am reaffirmed now in my convictions, because offering the opportunity to quote parts of the book in order to “deny them systematically” is really nasty by you, and personally I find it a bad joke, not to say a total lack of respect for “Hacer Editorial S.L.” customers’. Moreover, I feel that quite contradictory, to put it gently, that the interests and goals of “Hacer Editorial S.L.” is “the maximum dissemination of the texts published”, but these texts include a “standardized formula that attempts to prevent indiscriminate reproduction of texts published” and that “request for permission to reproduce them, implies systematically deny of the permission”.
There is something that either you have not understood well, or does not work properly.

Anyway, back to explain my request: I was not asking permission to read the book. I was asking the money I paid for a book that can not be read without:
a) committing a crime against intellectual property
and / or
b) request for permission of the publisher (not the author) in advance

Mr. Ricou, it is since long ago I do not ask permission to do things. Much less asking permission to use something for which I paid already.

Arnau Fuentes

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Reader rights

June 9, 2010 2 comments

Some days ago, I was commenting on those typical copyright notes that we get when we buy a paper book. One of them showed a glimpse about simply reading the book, it could lead to commit a crime by copyright infraction.

As I do not want to become a criminal by the simple fact of reading a book, I’ve just sent this letter to the publisher in order to return the book and get my money back. Moreover, I sent copies to the publisher’s partners:
Publicacions de l’ Ajuntament de Barcelona (Barcelona’s city council publishing) , Associació per a la Promoció i la Inserció Professional (APIP) (Organization for Labour Insertion and Promotion), Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona) and Institut de Govern i Polítiques Públiques (Public Policy and Governing Institute).
I just have to contact the authors, Joan Subirats and Joaquim Rius. We will keep informing.

To the attention of Mr. Josep Ricou Barceló, CEO of “Amics i autors de les divulgacions culturals d’ Editorial Hacer S.L.” (Friends and Authors of culture disclosure of Hacer Editorial Ltd.)

Mister Ricou,

Some time ago I bought, at CCCB’s shop, one book published by Hacer Editorial. It is “Del xino al raval”, written by Joan Subirats and Joaquim Rius.
I got that book to make some research for a little historical essay on the city of Barcelona. Regrettably, and for reasons of no matter now, I had to abandon that project.

I am trying to recover it now, so when I started to read the book in the matter, I noticed the copyright notes which usually are carried by paper books. More than anything to be aware about what can I do and what can not be done.

The copyright note within “Del xino al raval” really astonished me, because it forbids explicitly any reproduction, recording nor transmission using any system which recovers information, in any way or method, being it mechanical, photo-chemical, electronic, magnetic, electro-optical, by photocopy or anyone else, without prior permission from the publisher.

I must confess that I am a respectful citizen, who abides to the law, conscious of my rights and duties, and with a list of values which I’ve been building with time.
Those values include zero tolerance to abusive copyright or “author rights” notes. Because of that, and after asking some medical experts whom confirmed me that human eye is a photo-chemical and electro-optical information recovery system, I’m obliged to return the book to Hacer Editorial Ltd., and it must be said that I expect getting my €8 back.

I deeply feel sorry for the authors, Mr. Subirats and Mr. Rius, whom now will have to return their part from the royalties earned with this copy, now returned. If you tell me some way to contact them, I will be glad to tell them personally about all this issue.
Truly, I’d rather remain as a law-respectful citizen and return a book, than become a criminal by the simple fact of reading it and thus breaking and infringe the note on intellectual property.

This letter does not exclude the possibility that, if in the future Hacer Editorial publishes some books able to be processed by a photo-chemical and electro-optical information recovery system, meaning able to be read by a human, I would buy one. Even more, I explicitly cede my contact information (email address) to Hacer Editorial Ltd. in order to contact me if this happens.
But, any other use different from what is being told now, or apart from the reception of an answer to this letter (which I really wait), will be considered as unsolicited email, fact which could incur in manifest infraction of Ley Orgánica 15/1999, de 13 de diciembre, de Protección de Datos de Carácter Personal (Personal Data Protection Law), Ley 34/2002, de 11 de julio, de Servicios de la Sociedad de la Información y de Comercio Electrónico (Information Society and Electronic Commerce Law) and/or any other law approved in the future. Such infraction will be reported to the proper authorities.

Get my regards and my best wishes for this summer,

Arnau Fuentes Esteller